A recent report shows how parents feel about raising children in a digital age.
A report by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, entitled “Families Matter: Designing Media for a Digital Age”, focuses on two complementary studies that document how families with young children are integrating digital media into the rhythm of daily life.
The report is based on a survey of more than 800 parents of children between the ages of three and ten, as well as several in-depth case studies, and provides insight into parental attitudes toward technology, as well as how digital media, along with family values, routines, and structures, are shaping young children’s experiences. The research considers the many different spheres of influence in children’s lives - from parents to peers to the social and economic context - that they have to relate to while growing up.
- Forces outside of the home shape children’s experiences with digital media, such as institutional factors (parental work schedules and childcare arrangements limit available time for media based activities) cultural factors (socialising vs. using media alone) and parents’ personal histories (their own media experiences affects how they introduce digital media to their children).
- Parents prefer participating in activities with their children that involve older media. Most parents would watch TV, read books or play a board game with their children, but not play on a video game console.
- Not all digital media are created equal in parents’ eyes. Some are valued as more educational than others, with mobile phones viewed as least valuable and computer based activities as most valuable.
- Parents worry about digital media interfering with the healthy development of young children, in regard to physical exercise, online safety and real life social interactions.
- ... Yet most parents don’t believe their own children are at risk.
- Nearly two-thirds of parents restrict their children’s media use on a case by case basis. The multiplicity of new platforms and the rate at which they change may explain why so many parents don’t impose a firm set of rules.
- Map children’s development to new platforms.
- Conduct research on the learning potential of new platforms.
- Investigate the new coviewing. How can other family members support young children’s learning through digital media?
- Design with the full ecology of the child in mind, including institutional (family, school), economic, and cultural factors.
- Create video games that appeal to children and parents alike.
- Foster family teamwork.
- Think outside the (X)Box - use technology to engage children in physical and/or outside activities.
- Anytime, anywhere learning on mobile devices.
- Design the guilt out of digital-age parenting. Create devices that let parents interactively participate in media activities with their children.
Joan Ganz Cooney Center
Families Matter: Designing Media for a Digital Age